I decided to write a PartIII to my reviews. PartI compares Maz3 to 2 major competitors. PartII adds more details on Maz3. PartIII will add more comments and answer two critical questions for buyers/owners. Handling is the selling point of Maz3. But on center feel is not as good as German cars. Above 70mph, you better hold onto the steeling wheel tight. The P205/50VR17 stock tires provides adequate grip. But wider tires with directional patterns will sure improve traction more. Understeer is presented in high speed. DSC is not available unless you have the touring model. Zig-zag shifter needs get used to for straight shifter users. Trunk design can be simplified to yield more usable space.
Why choose Maz3 instead of Mazspeed3? Maz3 is for everyday use. Speed3 uses the same 2.3L engine supercharged to 100hp+ more. Can't run too cold or hot. Reliability could suffer. Lower ground clearance and summer tires are no good for some weather / road condition. Speed3 price tag is $4000+ more.
Why not 2010 model Maz3? Personally I like 2009's design more. It's cleaner and calmer. No need for smiley face. :) 2009 price is lower with discounts. 2010's improvements are not that substantial. This concludes my reviews. Will sure post more in the near future on long term reliability of Maz3.